From the ABC 7 Weather team

New Forecast Model: Yellowstone - A Better Way To Analyze A Changing Climate

June 7, 2012 - 03:00 PM
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A new supercomputer is unveiled and is a huge advancement in climate forecasting.

Regardless of your views on climate change, a new peice of technology has been unveiled - the supercomputer, Yellowstone.  No, it's not from the National Park, but to climate scientists, meteorologists, and the like, it's a huge advancement in forecasting - climate forecasting, in particular. 

You may have heard of the supercomputers that bring us current, numerical weather prediction.  Meteorologists rely heavily on these computer models in order to forecast.  The accuracy of weather forecasts has increased over the years, as the technology has advanced.  The newest supercomputer released is named Yellowstone, and was recently shipped to NWSC (NCAR Wyoming Supercomputing Center, shown below). 

NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center: Where Yellowstone will reside

The new Yellowstone supercomputer operates 1.5-quadrillion-calculations-per-second (a 1.6 petaflop system: flop - meaning floating operations per second).  So how does that compare to most of our personal computers?  That's about a trillion more operations per second!  That's a lot of computing power!

IBM Supercomputers - NOAA

Since the computing power is much higher in Yellowstone, compared to other supercomputers, the amount of data it will be able to store and generate will greatly enhance the simulation resolution.  Instead of calculating climate variation on a continental scale, Yellowstone will be able to study regional changes.  The higher simulation resolution will take into effect more local and regional climate factors, such as coastlines, mountain ranges, vegetation, snowpack, and precipitation.

With the focus on a smaller scale and details of a local climate, scientists will be able to see better into the future. 

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